OPINION

Restoring meritocracy

If the government really wants to silence grumbling and internal party criticism of not having replaced PASOK-appointed officials with its own boys, it has no other option but to abolish the thousands of superfluous posts with which PASOK filled the state apparatus, and to put an end to the nepotism and corruption that have taken root since the Socialists took over in 1981. The exact number of these posts is unknown, as is the number of people being paid to carry out unspecified tasks. It should be noted that the situation troubled PASOK’s reformists as well, spurring former Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos into action. A survey conducted by his own ministry revealed the existence of over 10,000 committees, councils and organizations with meaningless, ambiguous or overlapping responsibilities. Papadopoulos, of course, avoided referring to the reasons for such an excess number of state bodies – which in fact served no purpose but to sustain a multitude of sinecures for friends of the party. Papadopoulos only referred to a secondary side-effect, saying that the excess number of state bodies created a massive amount of red tape while undermining the smooth functioning of the public administration. Eventually, an outcry from the party nomenclature forced the administration to back down. New Democracy has no interest in perpetuating this state of affairs. Before the elections, it promised to do away with the exorbitantly costly party state and to reinstate meritocracy in the civil servants’ recruitment process. Abolishing the party state is a prerequisite for meritocracy. It is also crucial politically, as it is closely connected to governmental credibility and efficiency.